Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples

Birthday Blessings

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This past weekend we went to my family’s to celebrate my grandfather’s 88th birthday, my sister’s 37th birthday, my nephew’s 17th birthday and my brother’s 26th birthday. Lots of birthdays! It was the first time we had all of my family together, in one place, in a long time. It was really nice to see everyone and I think it really made my grandfather’s birthday.

But what really made my weekend very special was my grandfather. As we arrived at my grandparent’s house, my grandfather gathered us all in the living room. One by one he placed his hand on our shoulder and prayed a blessing for us. It has always been important to my grandfather that we follow the Lord and my grandfather has always been the ultimate example for all of us.

Psalm 138:8 – “My children will fulfill God’s will and purpose for their lives.”

He would take a few moments to tell us how proud he was of each of us and how blessed he was to have his family. I don’t believe their was a single dry eye in the room.

Psalm 127:3 – “My children are a reward and gift from the Lord, and I will enjoy them.”

It was probably the most touching moment I have ever experienced with  my family. Us Greenes, are not a very talkative group, especially regarding feelings. 😉 But pa-paw expressed it all in the best possible way. I just wish that I had recorded it or filmed it so I could look back on that memory again and again.

Afterwards we enjoyed a wonderful meal. My mom’s wonderful salad, my aunt’s meatballs, my grandmother’s traditional jalapeno cornbread… mmm… my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

I brought red velvet icebox cookies. Little note: if you make these, let them sit, iced, for a little while. Otherwise, they are a bit crunchy!

(Recipe came from SugarHero, but the recipe is down below.)


Red Velvet Icebox Cookies


    For the Red Velvet Wafer Cookies:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 oz butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2-1 tsp red gel food coloring
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • For the Cream Cheese Whipped Cream:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • Sprinkles (optional but very cute!)


    To Make the Red Velvet Wafer Cookies:
  1. In the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter. Mix on medium-high speed until well-combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix again until combined. Add 1/2 tsp of red gel food coloring and mix everything together until you get a vibrant red color. If your color seems muted, add a bit more food coloring—it will darken when you add the dry ingredients, so you want to start with a really bold color.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, and mix on low speed until almost fully incorporated. Stop the mixer and finish mixing everything together with a spatula, take special care to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Form the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper until it’s 1/8-inch thick. Cut 2.5” circles of dough, and transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. If the cookies are too delicate to transfer cleanly, slide the rolled-out dough onto a baking sheet and freeze it briefly, until you can easily move the cookies onto the baking sheet. Bake the cookies at 350 for 10 minutes.
  4. Press the scraps together and re-roll the dough, continuing the process of cutting, freezing, and baking until all of the dough is used. You should end up with at least 36 cookies. Cool completely. Cookies can be made several days in advance—just store them in an airtight container so they don’t get stale.
  5. To Make the Frosting and Assemble the Cakes:
  6. Place the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat them on medium speed until light and fluffy, and the cream cheese is free of lumps. Keeping the mixer running, slowly stream in the heavy cream. Once all of the cream is in, stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then continue whipping until the frosting holds firm peaks. Transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round coupler.
  7. If you want to be able to easily move the icebox cakes after they’re assembled, cut 2.5” cardboard rounds to put underneath them. Otherwise, assemble the cakes directly on the serving dishes.
  8. Place a small dab of frosting onto a cardboard round, and press a wafer cookie on top to affix it. Pipe a thin layer of frosting on top of the cookie, about the same thickness as the cookie itself. Place another cookie on top and gently press down, to squeeze the frosting until it is flush with the edge of the cookies. Add more frosting, and repeat the layering process until you have added 6 cookies total. Top the final cookie with a swirl of frosting and a pinch of sprinkles. Repeat until all 6 cakes are assembled.
  9. Refrigerate the cakes overnight. If your refrigerator has any strong odors, it’s a good idea to keep them in an airtight container, so they don’t absorb any funky smells. Icebox cakes can keep up to a week in the refrigerator.


My little cousin really liked the cookies! 🙂


After eating we took family photos. Randy and I unfortunately forgot our camera… I know! Worst thing! But I did have my point and shoot camera, which was better than nothing. The pictures are not great, but at least we have some.


It took a couple of times to get a good shot! 🙂


I believe this one turned out to be the best one.



Me, my siblings and my grandparents.


Next mom wanted some pictures of just me and my siblings.


And we had some fun with it. 🙂




And this is where we use to eat breakfast whenever we spent the night as kids. It is a little bit tighter than I remembered! 😉


Our weekend was a blast! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. And it is my hope that you can spend quality time with your families as much as possible. I know that it can be difficult to find the time and gathering everyone from different cities is near impossible. But family really is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us. And I think that every second spent with family is a precious one and one that is worth working for.

I hope everyone’s week has gone well! Happy Friday Eve!

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